I have decided to write this blog on postpartum depression. As some of you may know, I am on a leave of absence from my private practice. On November 6th, 2018, my husband and I welcomed our son into our lives. The months leading up to his arrival, it really started to hit me, that my world was about to change.
So why did I decide to dedicate this blog to postpartum depression or postnatal depression, because it is real. From the moment my son entered the world, all the health professionals I came into contact with, always checked in on me. “How are you feeling? Are you getting help at home? Do you have someone to talk to? Do you find yourself crying?” I remember while I was in labour, a nurse doing a screener to see what kind of supports I had and if I had any predisposed symptoms to developing postpartum depression. Repeatedly I was bombarded with these questions and it made me wonder, do they think I am depressed?
Postpartum depression is depression that can start after your baby is born and it can sometimes start before the birth of your child. How does this differ from baby blues? Baby blues is a short period of mixed emotions (crying, moody, feeling sad) due to the changes of hormones, which typically last less than two weeks. Postpartum depression however usually lasts longer than two weeks and can occur at any time in the first year after having your baby.
There are plenty of articles and websites that discuss postpartum depression and tests one can take to determine if one is displaying symptoms, that is why I wanted to discuss the importance of keeping an eye out for this silent diagnosis. If no one checked in on me or had not asked all those questions, I for one would have thought feeling sad one minute and happy the next just came with postpartum. Thankfully my roller coaster of emotions and thoughts subsided a few days after my delivery. However, if it was not for my supportive family and concerned health professionals, I too might have slipped into the silence that many others fall into.
If you have a family member, co-worker or a friend that has recently given birth or has a child under the age of one, a simple “how are you doing” can go a long way. If you feel you know someone that might have postpartum depression or you the reader feel this might apply to you, please reach out to your doctor, family or someone you trust. Sometimes just having someone to talk to or talking to someone that can relate to your experience is enough to break the silence.